Letter 373

• 373. Caroline to Julie Gotter in Gotha: Jena, 29 November 1802

Jena, 29 November [1802]

|347| Nothing could be more welcome to me than your parcel, my dear Julchen. I kept it all for myself and passed only your compliment on to Hegel, which did, however, so delight him that he forgot all about the sausages, though he did request that in the future you remember him with 4 ℔. You can also send me fresh ones again from time to time.

|348| Since Schelling is currently quite committed to moderation, having disposed of his wine debt and now drinking only English Weimar beer, [1] there is no need for you to concern yourself as excessively with helping out with our consumption as last winter, though in 1 to 2 weeks you can certainly become engaged again, not least because in that week a grand fête is to be given.

I was already familiar with Friedrich’s lectures even though I have not seen the corpus delicti, [2] which I also cannot send to you back, since Möller, whom one must always watch closely, basically crushed it into a thousand pieces, or rather transformed it into dust. He has these convulsive attacks and was again in very bad shape. Whenever he visits, he generally breaks something of mine, e.g., when he gouged a deep hole in my new writing desk. —

We here do not yet know whether Friedrich’s plan has materialized. I very much doubt, however, whether he will be able to fill the auditorium or parterre the way Schelling does even though his setting is both larger and broader. [3]

What Luise wrote in Schelling’s tobacco tin last year is indeed coming true. His lecture hall can no longer accommodate the large number of those attending, some of whom had to stay away because there was simply no more room, and even Schelling himself hardly has room. The number of subscribers is pushing 200. [4]

Moreover, a Hungarian baron has arrived who is here solely because of Schelling and to whom Schelling must give private lessons. He is an extremely pleasant, well-educated man, about 30 years old, who is staying here only a few months and will then be going to Italy for the coming summer. He brought some letters to me from the Tischbeins, whom he met on his journey here, and in that way was also introduced to me. [5] He is quite rich, has an equipage [6] and servants with him, and, |349| the funniest thing of all, Lenchen, who has been without work since Schelling let her go, has been accepted into his service because his servants basically do not know what is going on; for this service, she earns 1 Laubthaler per week. [7]

I only fear that after all is said and done, it will be a devil of a mess, and the whole pastry will burst, and the louis d’ors that Schelling earns will turn into medlars and nuts. [8]

You doubtless have not failed to notice the emergence of the new, dignified alliance between Kotzebue and Merkel; fat Sander has now also disavowed all neutrality. [9] What great fun there will be in Berlin now.

Schlegel has probably already started his lectures, against which Der Freimüthige is directed. [10] They have apparently also sworn the death of the Elegante Zeitung.

Apropos, you seem not to be uninformed concerning just who authored the report on the exhibition. Please do tell us. Schlegel has also written that he has wracked his brains trying to figure it out, since it is indeed not a bad piece of work at all. [11]

Sir Stransky von Greifenfels wrote from the furthest hinterlands of Bohemia that he would “always keep fond memories of Jena in his heart.” One of Marcus’s nephews is also here, an extremely handsome young passenger who is incredibly voluble and has related some rather wondrous things concerning certain ladies.

Luise in Braunschweig is now the wife of a Hofrath quite without the aid of intercession. Wiedemann declined an appointment in Dorpat, in gratitude for which the duke, as it were, “be-Hofrath-ed” him. [12]

Stay well and give my warmest regards to your family. Is the Chanoinesse still there? Is Madam Siegfried still alive? [13]

Here is the final volume of Tasso for Pauline; she should go ahead and read it. [14]

C. S.


[1] Brewery ca. 1775 (Schauplatz der Natur und der Künste, vol. 2 [Vienna 1775], plate 41):


See Richard Keil and Robert Keil, Geschichte des jenaischen Studentenlebens von der Gründung der Universität bis zur Gegenwart (1548–1858) (Leipzig 1858), 299, in the chapter on the period 1792–1815 (illustration from Ernst Borkowsky, Das alte Jena und seine Universität [Jena 1908], 275):

Let us now examine the morals and customs of the Jena students at that time. First the activities of drinking and taverns. During this period, too, students in Jena generally preferred German beverages, among which they preferred beer, otherwise disdaining the rather bitter country wine, with only the wealthier students occasionally indulging their taste for fine wines at the Ortelli shop for wine and Italian wares during their excursions to Weimar.

Apart from the town beer and several varieties of village beer (Lichtenhain, Ziegenhain, Kospoda, etc.), specifically the Ober-Weimar double beer and the Köstritzer, as well as what was known as English beer from the academic Rosenkeller were quite popular and much imbibed.



[2] Corpus delicti, Latin, “body of offense/crime,” namely, the concrete facts and circumstances demonstrating a breach of a law.

Caroline is referring figuratively (and ironically), of course, to an otherwise unspecified manuscript of Friedrich’s lectures. He was in any case planning to lecture in Paris, where he and Dorothea Veit had lived since the summer of 1802 after leaving Weimar in late May.

Concerning the narrower meaning of this expression in Germany in 1798, see H. F. Kramer, Versuch einer systematischen Darstellung des peinlichen Rechts, vol. 1 (Schleswig 1798), 300–01:

The truth and actual existence of a crime without consideration of its perpetrator is called the corpus delicti. Others understand this expression as referring to the object of the crime, not to be confused with the laesus [the offended or damaged party], although such can in this sense can be the corpus delicti itself [fn: as in homicide, though some consider it to be, e.g., not the person from whom something is stolen, but the stolen object itself]. Still others take the expression corpus delicti, albeit less correctly, to refer to the traces a crime has left behind, or even to the criminal himself, who sooner might be called the corpus delinquens. Back.

[3] Parterre, Fr., here: the ground floor of an auditorium in the rear and on the sides; i.e., Schelling was able to attract enough students to his lectures not only to fill the seats, but the rest of the space as well. Back.

[4] See Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 28 December 1801 (letter 338):

I gave Schelling a tobacco tin in which Luise had placed the following charming note: “The painting depicts an open field with an ancient oak tree in the foreground. Students are streaming in from all sides to hear the great philosopher of nature. Because no hall can now accommodate their number, he, like Plato in his day, has fled with them into the open air.”

This motif is presumably a version or variation of the well-known illustration of Plato with his students at the outdoor academy (anonymous, “Platon und seine Schüler im Garten der Akademie”; colorized woodcut from Hermann Göll, Die Weisen und Gelehrten der Alterthums: Leben und Wirken der hervorragendsten Forscher und Entdecker auf dem Gebiete der Wissenschaft bei den Griechen und Römern: dargestellt für Freunde des Alterthums, insbesondere für die reifere Jugend, 2nd ed. [Leipzig 1876], 101):


Schelling had attracted two hundred people to his current lectures, something he himself mentions to Wilhelm in a letter on 29 November 1802 (letter 373a). These were for Schelling the halcyon days of his teaching activity in Jena, similar to the following seventeenth-century illustration of an overflowing lecture hall (anonymous, Studenten im Hörsaal [ca. 1600–25]; Dutch school; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur C Geom. 2° [228]):



[5] The Tischbeins resided in Leipzig (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



[6] Fr., “equipment; carriage and horses with attendants.” Back.

[7] Schelling writes to his father on 6 December 1802 (Plitt 1:435–37, here 436—37; Fuhrmans 2:474–75):

It really would be a sin for me to accept any gratuity from you now, considering how well positioned I am financially. My overall income for this six-month period provides me a sum you might consider impossible were I not to assure you of its veracity. — In two lecture courses I have over 200 attendees, so that there is hardly enough room in the auditorium for those wishing to attend one of the lectures, and a not insignificant number of those who would like to have attended could not do so.

I am also giving a privatissimum [private instruction] in philosophy to a Hungarian magnate who came here specifically for that purpose, and that alone earns me 50 Carolins, filling my purse with money and my cellar with Tokay wine. In a word, in my own way I am a prosperous man for now. A great many foreigners are here to hear me lecture, graduates, military personnel, and other persons of status, even Englishmen.

In a letter to Goethe on 21 December 1802, Schelling also offered to introduce the two (Goethe und die Romantik 228; Fuhrmans 2:475–76):

I have long been wanting to call on you personally, and I may finally hope to do so, with your permission, this coming Saturday or Sunday [25, 26 December]. I will be bringing along Baron Podmanitzky, K[aiserlich]. K[öniglich]. Mining Rath and Mining Inspector in Chemnitz, who is spending a few months here for the purpose of studying philosophy. I am hoping to have the honor of introducing him to you personally.

The two dined with Goethe and Schiller in Weimar on Sunday, 26 December 1802 (illustration of Goethe’s Weimar house on an early postcard: “Vor dem Goethehaus zu Weimars klassischer Zeit”):


Goethe noted afterward that “among the important foreigners studying here [in Jena], let me mention von Podmanitzky, a well-educated man who was pleased to participate actively in our plans and activities” (Weimarer Ausgabe 35:139). Back.

[8] See supplementary appendix 433.2. Back.

[9] As publicly announced on 20 October 1802, Johann Daniel Sander began publishing the anti-Romantic and anti-Goethean journal Der Freimüthige, oder berlinische Zeitung für gebildete, unbefangene Leser in early 1803. For the announcement, see Schelling’s letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on this same day, 29 November 1802 (letter 373), note 10.

Der Freimüthige (1803) 115 (21 July 1803), 457–58, contained an (according to Erich Schmidt, [1913], 2:641) impertinent but not entirely unfunny, colored illustration contra the Schlegel circle with caricatures (see next footnote):


During August von Kotzebue’s long absence, Garlieb Merkel took over editorial duties on 1 October 1802, though the two men had a complete falling out later. See Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 11 March 1802 (letter 353), note 16.

The primary stimulus for initiating such a literary “war” for Kotzebue was the scandal surrounding the performance of Wilhelm’s Ion and the similar reactions to the performance of Friedrich Schlegel’s Alarcos in Weimar. The immediate target was the Zeitung für die elegante Welt, and now, unlike in the quarrels concerning Goethe and Schiller’s Xenien and even Athenaeum, the tone was considerably sharper and even laced with bellicose military terminology.

Only the concrete military and political defeat of Prussia at the Battles of Jena and Auerstedt in October 1806 brought an end to this particular quarrel, and Garlieb Merkel found it necessary to flee Prussia entirely during the Napoleonic era (Paul Hocks and Peter Schmidt, Literarische und politische Zeitschriften 1789–1805 [Stuttgart 1975], 99–100). Back.

[10] Caroline is referring to the commencement of the second course (1802–03) of Wilhelm’s Berlin lectures in Berlin; the previous course had begun in December 1801 and extended to Easter 1802. No documentation seems to exist specifying exactly when this second course of lectures began. See in any case the supplementary appendix on Kotzebue’s caricature of “the most recent aesthetics” and Merkel’s publication of the caricature “the storming the Parnassus” in Caroline’s letter to Luise Gotter in March 1802 (letter 355):

Storming_the _parnassus


[11] In his letter to Wilhelm on 29 November 1802 (letter 373a), Schelling, too, discusses the scandalously satirical review of the Weimar art exhibition. See supplementary appendix 373.1. Back.

[12] Caroline uses a similar neologism in German. — Christian Rudolf Wilhelm Wiedemann’s distinction had been reported in the Intelligenzblatt of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1802) 214 (Saturday, 20 November 1802) 1727:

Herr Professor Wiedemann of Braunschweig, after declining an offer to go to Dorpat as professor of anatomy and obstetrics, was appointed Hofrath by his duke. Back.

[13] Uncertain reference; possibly Angelica Siegfrieden, née Schläger, daughter of Mother Schläger in Gotha; see Caroline’s letter to Julie Gotter on 18 February 1803 (letter 375), note 23. Back.

[14] Torquato Tasso, Befreites Jerusalem (“Jerusalem delivered”), trans. Johann Diederich Gries, 4 vols. (Jena 1800–1803). Here the frontispieces to the 2nd ed., Torquato Tasso’s Befreites Jerusalem, trans. Johann Diederich Gries, 2nd ed., 2 vols., Magazin der ausländischen klassischen Literatur 7 and 8 (Vienna 1815):



Translation © 2016 Doug Stott